Odisha govt approves Tata’s bid to construct Bhawanipatna medical college

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha cabinet on Friday approved Tata Projects Limited’s bid to construct the 100-seated medical college at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district.

Tender for the construction work was floated with an estimated cost of Rs 202.39 crore in which three bidders– NCC Limited, Shapoorji Pallorji and Company Private Limited and Tata Projects Limited– were found technically qualified. Among the three, Tata Projects Limited stood lowest with a bid value of Rs 2,20,73,98,218, official sources said.

The construction work will be completed in two years of time without any price escalation.

The Odisha government has taken a gigantic step to improve the medical education in the state to cater to the needs of the qualified doctors to wide spread health institutions in the state.

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November 12, 2018 at 4:47 am Leave a comment

Neyveli Lignite Corporation to set up super specialty hospital at Rengali

Following is a report from the Pioneer: 

An important meeting was held here with the representatives of industries and mines organisations of the undivided Sambalpur district on Friday under the chairmanship of Northern Revenue Divisional Commissioner DV Swamy.

As discussed, a super specialty hospital would be set up soon by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) at Rengali of Sambalpur district. It was also decided to complete the proposed diagnostic centres at the Jharsuguda District Headquarters Hospital and Laikera by the Vedanta Aluminium Company and a mega stadium under construction with MCL fund by the end of December.

On Thursday, a meeting was also held relating to the Assembly constituencies of Jharsuguda and Rengali. The industries were requested to fulfil their social responsibilities towards common problems of the two constituencies. Participating in the discussion, OPCC working president and Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das said industries should work sincerely to remove the drinking water problems by removing earth and weeds from all the reservoirs besides its repair where necessary and digging of bore wells on a priority basis.

Rengali MLA Ramesh Patua, Jharsuguda Collector Bibhuti Bhusan Patnaik, Sambalpur Collector Samarth Verma, Jharsuguda ADM Trilochan Majhi, Secretary to RDC Bibhuti Bhusan Behera along with representatives from Jharsuguda Vedanta Company, MCL, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, Aditya Birla, Hindalco, Aryan Ispat, TPSL, Seven Star and mines units  attended the meeting.

November 12, 2018 at 4:38 am Leave a comment

Plight of Sambalpuri handloom weavers

Following is a report from https://kalingatv.com

Bhubaneswar: The traditional handloom and textile designs of Odisha enjoy acceptability worldwide. Sambalpuri sarees are acclaimed by many for its distinctive patterns and beautiful motifs. Their producers, weavers behind the skill, are recognized and awarded. However, the weavers feel they need more than just awards and felicitations. They need patronage in terms of market, skill development training and economic support. We talked to a few award-winning weavers of Bargarh district to elicit what can boost their plight and creativity.

Seventytwo year old Tribikram Meher of Mahalakanta village in Bheden block of Bargarh district is a national award recipient that he has bagged thanks to his innovation of some motifs in Sambalpuri handloom. Asked to tell about his work the weaver said, “I have created a number of motifs using different natural elements like flowers, sun, different plants etc. Even, I can create a new customized motif as per the need of a customer. However, we don’t get enough remuneration for a customized work and so stick to the existing one.” Tribikram and his wife live with the family of their son Sarat Meher, who also helps him in weaving along with his family members. The elder son has also inherited the traditional business of their family, but he shifted his base to Ulunda in Subarnapur village.

Tribikram’s son Sarat Meher who also is a weaver said, “Although my father has got a few awards both in the state and national level still we hardly earn about 8 to 10 thousand per month. You can analyse how difficult it is to manage a family along with the old parents with such a small budget.”

“I have heard weavers are entitled to some kind of pensions. If my father could be given any such kind of pension in lieu of his creative works as a weaver, it would be a great help to our family,” the innocent villager added.

Asked how he helps his father in the work Sarat said, “My father is too old now to work. But still he eagerly work on bandhas that we put in the clothe, when weaving. We work on his already invented motifs and that is the big contribution.”

Sambalpuri saree is made from fabric woven on a hand-loom. Varieties of the Sambalpuri saree include Pasapali, Bomkai and Bapta saris, which are in high demand. Most of them have been named after their places of origin and are popularly known as Pata.

Another weaver Dukhishyam Meher of Remunda village in Bargarh district is a recipient of the National Merit award in weaving. He said, “In these days there are many clothes, which resembles Sambalpuri handloom, are available in the market. These clothes are not handmade and supplied from Chhattisgarh and other states. Since these are generated in power-looms, these clothes are sold in cheap price. However, one can feel the difference after wearing Sambalpuri and these clothes. Often the sellers sell it in the name of Sambalpuri handloom Saris and clothes. Thus, when a customer gets something like our product in a cheap rate he prefers it. However, it negatively affects our trade.”

Asked about the solution he said, “If our village weavers can be supplied with raw materials in a lower price and can be trained with new technology, the problem can be resolved.”

Another weaver Surya Kumar Meher from Remenda village in Bargarh district says, “Many skill development programs are executed in the pen and paper only. But when it comes to practicality we reap very less.”

“In Orissa market Pochampalli clothes from the southern states are available. The cloth resembles like Sambalpuri handwork. These clothes are made in handloom, not in power-loom and have most of the characteristics that our clothes have. I have also visited their work place. They use machines where bulk production is possible in less time. In their technology one person can do the work which will need at least two persons in our technology. However, since all our works are done manually we can produce only four pieces of clothes at one time. If our weavers will be financially assisted to buy such machines we can also produce more clothes in less time,” he added.

Surya has received a national merit award for weaving. He is into this trade since the time of his forefathers. He said, “My grandfather was working in the loom. My father inherited the traditional profession and now I have inherited weaving. Along with my brother we are working on the loom to produce Sambalpuri handloom generated clothes of different pattern.”

Sixty one year old Murali Meher, a national award winner weaver from Jhiliminda village in Bargarh district has also received the Santha Kabir award. He  says that the government is patronizing weavers only by giving awards, but we need some more. “If the weavers will be given training on skill development and will be allowed to work in different projects from where they can learn, only then they can develop. Besides, printed and not woven, clothes are abundant in the market which customers get at a cheap price and so prefer. Resultantly, it hampers our business. The government should come up with regulatory acts to check such practice.”

November 3, 2018 at 8:02 am Leave a comment

Drought threat looms large over western Odisha

Following is a report from OTV

Bhubaneswar: While Odisha may have registered a healthy 12.9 percent surplus rainfall this monsoon season, drought threat looms large over a significant portion of western Odisha.

Bargarh, which is also known as the ‘Rice bowl of Odisha,’ along with areas of Sambalpur, Nuapada and Sundergarh have been badly affected by deficit rainfall this monsoon season.

It is to be noted that this is the third consecutive year that western Odisha is facing a drought situation.

In the beginning of the monsoon this year, farmers were quite optimistic after good spells of rain, however as the paddy crops began to ripen, rain subsided.

The situation is quite severe in Sohela and Bijepur block of Bargarh, sources said.

Farmer outfits have urged the government to take necessary steps to provide water pumps and pipe connection to sustain cultivation.

In Nuapada district, after three consecutive seasons of drought-like condition, farmers had hoped that this year would be a silver lining. On the contrary rainfall was not as expected.

The condition is no less grim in Sambalpur district where hundreds of farmers and other locals led by BJP MLA Rabi Naik stormed to the streets demanding drought-hit status for Kuchinda sub-division.

Cultivators have warned that if the government does not take any proactive steps to mitigate the condition and provide adequate compensation, they would intensify their agitation.

“If the government does not ensure quick disbursement of crop insurance and compensation, we will launch protests,” farmer leader, Vimal Joshi said.

Meanwhile, the administration has assured to assist the farmers in tackling the situation.

“We have already begun arrangements to provide diesel pump sets at subsidised prices. This apart, we are also providing water connection from canals and other water sources to affected farmlands at subsidised rates,” said deputy director of Agriculture department in Bargarh, Dinabandhu Gandhi.

October 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Ganda Baja – a musical tradition of western Odisha

 Following article is from EPW:

Ganda Baja is a prominent folk musical tradition of western Odisha. The players of this art form belong to the Ganda community (a Dalit community, largely from parts of western Odisha that border Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh). Generally, the Ganda are landless people mainly dependent on Ganda Baja and weaving for their livelihood. Since their traditional occupation of weaving has been failing with mill-made clothes flooding the market, they have been reduced to landless agricultural labourers. Some among them have also migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Baja” is a collective of musical instruments, including membranophones (the dhol, nisan, and tasa or timkidi), an aerophone (muhuri), and an idiophone (jhumka). This Baja is traditionally played during marriages, childbirth ceremonies, idol immersion processions, some administrative occasions, funeral processions, etc. Each occasion’s music has a distinct beat and tenor. For example, the “Jhi Bahar Par” (music for daughter’s departure to her in-laws’ place) is played when a bride is escorted out of the village by friends and relatives as she leaves for her marital home. The “Dargad Par” is played when a wife wails and mourns her husband’s death. Songs are specifically learnt for the occasion. The composition of “Dargad Par” evokes fear and awe in the listener.

The Ganda Baja is a way of living, a cultural manifestation of life in western Odisha. These days, the traditional genre has undergone tremendous change. A Ganda Baja troop consists of a minimum of five members in different capacities. They are Muhuria (the person who operates the muhuri), Dhulia (the person who operates the dhol), Taslia (the person who operates the tasa), Nisnia (the person who operates the nisan), and Jhumkia (the person who operates the jhumka). Five members is the minimum strength of the troop, but six members is considered a sound quorum for the group, with one dhol, one muhuri, one jhumka, one tasa and two nisan. The group has the flexibility of extending it to eight members, if there is a demand for dancers (a man in the outfit of a woman) from their clients. It is believed that a troop is stronger with a larger number of members in varying capacities. The members have learnt this art form from their forefathers, having travelled together and performed with them since childhood. Due to the stigma associated with the community and the practice of untouchability, they learn this art form from their family members as a livelihood skill.

The members of the community mainly earn during the marriage season. Earlier, they used to perform for three to five days. Now, it has reduced to a maximum of two days. Earlier, the agreements between the patron and the Ganda Baja troop were through the jajmani system in these areas and were usually oral contracts. The wage rates offered to them were very low and they had to accept whatever amount was offered. Once they entered into an agreement, sometimes their patrons had exclusive and absolute rights over their services for a particular period of time (usually three or five days). For this stipulated time they were like bonded labourers. In some instances, the party engaging them would pressurise the troop to beat drums all night so they could drink and dance. Sometimes they would even have to walk for hours and cover long distances carrying heavy instruments to reach their destination. And, at times, they would have to wait for long hours for food, once they reached there.

Things, however, are changing. Currently, a contract is completely based on mutual agreement. Slowly, the community is demanding market-negotiated wage rates. Income encompasses payments in both cash and kind. The minimum rate is ₹ 5,000 per performance, and the maximum is ₹ 15,000, shared by the members of the troop. They have around 30 performances for different occasions over seven to eight months in a year.

Ganda Baja is still a major source of livelihood for this community in a large part of western Odisha. Modern music has seriously affected the livelihood of the Baja troops, resulting in the gradual disappearance of this age-old traditional art form. In 2014, folk artists from western Odisha had staged a protest in front of the legislative assembly demanding the status of Adikala (primitive art) for Ganda Baja. On that occasion, they tried to foreground two issues: their strong attachment to their culture, and their earnings from their occupation. They vociferously argued that their culture was their occupation too, which is why there is an urgent need for the revival and promotion of Ganda Baja.

Sujit Kumar Mishra (sujitkumar72@gmail.com) teaches economics at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

October 21, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Rethinking Kosli Identity: Language, literature and culture of western Odisha

Down load a PDF copy here: Rethinking Kosli Identity- Language, Literature and Culture of Western Odisha

September 23, 2018 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

Vedanta Aluminium Ltd to scale up its refinery capacity at Kalahandi

Following is a report from the Sambad:

LG

September 16, 2018 at 2:30 am Leave a comment

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